Visiting the Charles M. Schulz Museum!

I went to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa and it was an amazing experience! Charles M. Schulz  created the comic strip Peanuts and all the characters like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy that we know and love.

I got to learn about Schulz’s life and see a replica of his study where there was a video that showed footage of Schulz drawing his characters and describing them. There were so many old, original comics to read which was really fun and interesting. There were also descriptions beside each comic explaining why Schulz would incorporate a certain object, sport, or emotion. An example of this would be hockey because he played the sport professionally for a few years and included it in a few comics.

Additionally, there were many interactive features such as a huge dog bowl, Snoopy dog house, and thought/speech bubbles also you could make your own comic book scene. There was also an recorded interview of Donna Wold, the real person who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in Schulz’s comics, that you could listen to through headphones.

It was such a fun experience to visit this museum, read comics, and learn more about Charles M. Schulz and it’s something you should definitely do if you’re in the Santa Rosa area!

-Kaitlyn S.

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

The year is 2044.  The Earth is in ruins and people are starving, all because of the energy crisis and human neglect.  Humanity’s escape from all that is the incredible virtual reality game called OASIS. It was created by the genius video game creator James Halliday who, when he died, set up a contest to find the Easter egg he’s hidden in the grand OASIS. Whoever finds it will get Halliday’s inheritance, which is an enormous sum of money.

This story follows Wade, an introverted, awkward boy who has grown up with the OASIS. His parents died while he was young, so he’s forced to live with his cruel aunt in a precarious tower of trailers.  He spends his days finishing up his last year of high school and mostly researching every 80s TV show, comic, movie, and book for clues on how to find Halliday’s egg.

When Wade begins to progress in the hunt for the egg and find the first key, he receives a lot of attention and soon becomes targeted by the IOI, another game company who wants to win the contest so they can steal the OASIS and change it. Wade must find the egg before someone else or the IOI can to save himself and possibly the world.

I really enjoyed this book!  It’s so interesting because of its futuristic, sci-fi genre and many, many references to games, books, TV shows, and movies. This is a unique, fascinating book that will have you turning its pages rapidly till the end!

-Kaitlyn S.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

This story follows 12-year-old Miranda through a unique and interesting tale about time travel and how every moment in time is connected.

Miranda’s story is a narration about everything in great detail that has happened the past fall and winter.  The letter, aka the story she is telling, is the strange request of a mysterious individual who has left her notes and seemingly can predict the future.  This person tells Miranda in the notes that he is coming to save a person she cares about and himself, but to find out if this person succeeds, you must read this book!

I really enjoyed this book because of how you know nothing about the character, exposition, or setting, but slowly find out as you go on. There are also interesting descriptions of how each moment in time exists at once that makes you think in a whole new way. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves A Wrinkle in Time because it’s similar in its ideas of time travel and doing anything for those you love.

-Kaitlyn S.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is available for checkoout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Meet Melody. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, has a photographic memory, and experiences different colors and tastes when listening to music.  The thing is, Melody is almost eleven years old and hasn’t spoken her whole life.  She has cerebral palsy which makes it impossible for her to walk, talk, and even feed herself.

At school, she is stuck learning the same boring alphabet lessons again and again because no one thinks she’s smart or can learn.  Melody is going out of her mind with being so limited until she discovers something that allows her to have a voice for the first time, but not everyone is ready to hear it and listen.

I enjoyed this book so much. I learned a lot more about cerebral palsy and how it affects people in so many ways.  You can really feel Melody’s struggles and triumphs, and this book is engaging and unique from start to finish. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to try something thought-provoking and interesting.

-Kaitlyn S.

Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall by Shannon Messenger

Sophie Foster is an elf, a powerful girl who lives in a glittering world full mythical creatures, fantastical places, and elves with every superpower-like ability under the sun.  

But with so much going on, Sophie can never seem to figure out what the Neverseen, the evil group of rebels, will hit them with next.  After Sophie’s human parents are kidnapped by the Neverseen, Sophie finds her sister Amy in her human home and takes her to the Lost Cities to keep her safe.  Keefe and Sophie travel to Ravagog, the home of the ogres, to try to form an alliance with the ruler of the ogres, King Dimitar. Through it all, Sophie and her friends are trying to figure out what Keefe’s mom means when she talks about his legacy and how it is connected to Nightfall, a mysterious place where they must go to discover the elves’ true past with humans.

I love this book and this series so much. Next to Harry Potter it’s definitely one of my favorite series of books. I recommend reading this book and the rest in this awesome series!

-Kaitlyn S.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Splintered Heart is the exciting third installment of the Serafina series, with Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff being the first two. 

Serafina wakes up to a drastically different world from the one she remembers. An old enemy becomes a new ally, while other foes become more deadly.   If Serafina doesn’t expel the evil force that is seething with rage from past battles, all of Biltmore, (the enormous estate within the Blue Ridge Mountains) and its inhabitants, will be destroyed.  Serafina must band together with her friends, old and new, to put an end to the enemy who cannot be killed before he puts an end to everything they love.

I loved this book and I wish it wasn’t the last in this series. All the books are so unique compared to the typical books you see today. The way the author describes the setting of majestic Asheville, North Carolina, makes you feel like you’re really there. This is an amazing book topping off a great trilogy and I definitely recommend it!

-Kaitlyn S.

Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan, the boy who could fly and never grew up. But do you know how Peter Pan came to be?

Peter and the Starcatchers is the prequel and background of Peter Pan.  It begins one morning in England where two ships are being loaded on the same dock with very different cargo to journey to the remote island of Rundoon. The first ship, a top-of-the-line frigate called the Wasp, is to be loaded with the most precious and powerful treasure on Earth, by orders of Lord Leonard Aster on the authority of the Queen. Then there’s the other ship, the Neverland, a slow, busted-up old ship that will hold an identical trunk full of sand, Molly Aster (Leonard Aster’s thirteen-year old-daughter), and a bunch of orphans that are going to be sold to King Zarboff.  But, at the last second, Captain Slank, captain of the Neverland, switches the trunks so his ship has the treasure.

That treasure is starstuff, and the Asters are Starcatchers, people who try to keep starstuff away from evil people who would use it to do wrong. Peter is one of the orphans on that ship, and when he finds out about the starstuff that shouldn’t be on the Neverland but is, he and Molly become friends and work together to protect the starstuff.  But after a violent storm that shipwrecks everyone on an island occupied by the Mollusk people, will they be able to keep away the starstuff from sailors, pirates, and the Mollusks, and get back home to England in the end?

I decided to read this book because it’s the play I’m a part of at my high school and I thought it would be fun to read again.  This book gives so much depth and background to Peter Pan’s story and it’s a great fantasy adventure book. I’d recommend this to those who love the story of Peter Pan and want to know more!

-Kaitlyn S.

The Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library